Women who Run North London: Claire from Barefaced Studios

"Our company motto is 'Kill them with kindness'. Not in an aggressive sense, but as a reminder to always treat people with kindness."

In honour of International Women’s Day 2019 we’ve sat down with some of the amazing women running businesses in Finsbury Park and Stroud Green to talk about how they got started, what challenges they’ve experienced and what advice they have for aspiring female business owners and leaders. Our “Women who run North London” series features these interviews, published across two weeks. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Claire, owner of Design Agency, Barefaced Studios.

The culture that Claire has created at Barefaced: of collaboration, attention to detail, and client care, is evident the moment you step through Barefaced’s doors. Though the agency’s reach stretches worldwide, they have deep roots within the local area, and know it inside out (especially anywhere serving food).

Tell us a little bit about the business? When did you set it up? And what made you want to start the business/ inspiration behind this? 

I launched the agency in 2013 after about 10 years working in and around the creative industries. I’d worked as part of creative teams and in-house for businesses, so I had real insight into the stumbling blocks encountered between client and agency. There was a tendency for each team to act as an island and there was a real lack of transparency. Moreover, I was having endless conversations with talented people who were unhappy, undervalued and often mistreated at work. I wanted to create a safe environment where talent could thrive, with a supportive culture that encourages collaboration – one of our objectives has always been to rid our team of ‘Sunday dread’ about coming in to work. At Barefaced everyone has a voice and we pride ourselves not only on the work we produce together, but in delivering the best possible agency experience for our clients. We aim to become an extension of each client’s team, helping them to shape the future of their business and we always have their best interests at heart. 

Do you have a specific female icon or person who inspires you? Doesn’t have to be in business,  but could be a mentor, a woman you know or someone in the media?

My older sister, Natalie Wade OBE, has always acted as a mentor for me. She runs a charity called Small Green Shoots which helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into the creative industries. She’s a great example of how to operate with kindness and integrity. I’m inspired by fellow female creatives in the UK doing great things, including Lucy Aston at Fold7, whose Coppa Feel campaign got a nipple on daytime telly for the first time, and Eloise King at Vice UK, whose work provides a voice for the unheard – she also co-creates the Gurl’s Talk Instagram series. I also really admire Solange Claudio, President of Moxie, an American advertising agency which, under her leadership, has experienced the biggest growth period in it’s history. 

Do you think being a woman has shaped or impacted your experience of being in business? And if so in what way?

Undoubtedly yes. I’ve read that only 12% of Creative Directors in the UK are women, only 27% of UK business owners are women and in creative agencies only 30.4% of c-suite roles are held by women. There is a huge gender disparity and it only gets considerably worse for BAME women. I’ve encountered misogyny at pitches and in the boardroom. In the past I’ve had to work much harder than my male counterparts to prove my abilities and felt under pressure to think, talk and act in a certain way. But these experiences have made me more determined, patient and understanding – I know I’m a better team leader, strategist and creative as a result. 

So the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is Balance for Better- What does the phrase #BalanceForBetter mean to you?

Encouraging more businesses to be more inclusive within their workplaces – find ways of breaking that glass ceiling and make it easier for women to progress. There are so many barriers to entry both into and within companies, but research shows us that having more women in the workplace and in leadership positions results in a more engaged team, a better organisational culture and higher levels of staff satisfaction and retention. Furthermore, by having a balance of men and women from a variety of backgrounds you’re introducing a range of perspectives to your business, meaning you’ll produce better, richer and more effective work. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Our company motto is ‘kill them with kindness’. Not in an aggressive sense, but as a reminder to always treat people with kindness. It’s something my sister ingrained in me. You can’t heal anger with anger. You don’t know what that person is going through, the pressure they might be under. Also, tone, written communication and intention can all be misinterpreted. By treating people with kindness and respect, even if you’re frustrated with them, you can diffuse situations and avoid miscommunication.

If you could give one piece of advice to a young woman who wanted to start her own business/ was thinking about running a business in the future- what would it be?

Look after your physical and mental health. I’ve done the working yourself to the bone and not having a life thing – it’s not productive. Running your own business will be a big slog, it takes a lot of time and energy, you will mess up (lots) and have to build a very thick skin. But you can only do all of this if you’re looking after yourself. Get some exercise, take your lunch break, eat properly, get some sleep, talk it out with people you trust and have a social life.  

Interview by Hannah Lawrence 

Photography by Odera Okoye, featuring Barefaced Studios

Back to Insights
An illustration of a woman looking out of her window to a crack in her building wall.
How to Be At One With Subsidence: A Guide to Letting It Slide

You might have come across the term while eyeing up the gorgeous period properties on our books, but in most cases you needn’t let it distract you from that pretty Victorian cornicing.
Subsidence crops up when the ground beneath a property shifts due to a combo of dry weather, clay soil and wandering tree roots. It sounds dramatic, and sometimes is (so we’d always advise you seek professional advice) but more often than not, it’s perfectly manageable.

Read More...
an illustration of a moving van moving a sofa and some boxes
Movin’ up and movin’ out – our Billy Joel inspired guide for tenants on the move

We don’t know about you, but every time we hear someone say they’re moving out, our eyes glaze over momentarily as we perform the full Billy Joel hit track with specialised choreography in our heads – complete with on stage breakdown (seriously, google Billy Joel meltdown and thank us later). We also simultaneously recite a lengthy and chronological to do list for said person who is, in fact, movin’ out.

Read More...
Illustration of a Monstera plant in an orange plant pot sitting by a window with bulb fairy lights hanging by it
Spruce Up Your Home and Raise Your Spirits, Lockdown Style

Whether you’re looking to improve your living quarters to attract potential buyers, or you just fancy sprucing up your abode in time for Summer, we’re all spending a lot more time inside these same four walls. So why not try some home improvement tricks and hacks on a budget for simple ways to upgrade your surroundings?

Read More...
Davies & Davies Illustration of a woman meditating in the the park on a grey background surrounded by orange trees
Park Life: Make the Most of Your Local Outdoor Spaces (While Staying Alert)

Question: What’s the one thing you can do to reduce your risk of type II diabetes, heart disease and premature death? Hint: it doesn’t come in a blister pack. The answer really is as simple as moseying over to your nearest green space. But don’t just take our word for it. But don’t just take our word for it. Scientists have found that living near nature can do wonders for your health and wellbeing, including helping people snooze for longer and lowering stress levels. 

Read More...
The interior of a living room in a property in stroud green, with a fireplace and a bookshelf
Don’t panic! How COVID-19 actually affects your remortgage

First things first, don’t panic Mr Mannering. We know how easy it is to read a headline here or there and start spiralling into a pit of existential despair. That’s why we’ve decided to round up some of the more common questions / cries for help we’ve heard since lockdown regarding your remortgaging options. As always, we recommend chatting with an expert or two before making any major decisions

Read More...
Bedroom of a property managed by Davies & Davies in the stroud green area
Landlords ask: what’s the point in having my property managed?

Let’s be honest, property management is time consuming, stressful and, if not carried out properly, can even point to a prison sentence. It’s no joke. Law and compliance around property and, in particular, property rentals changes frequently. During weird times, such as the locked down ‘new normal’ we find ourselves in, things can change even more rapidly. Working with a property management company can help ease that stress – even more so when times are difficult.

Read More...
Mark Scales, director a of sales at Davies & Davies Estate Agents on the phone to a vendor
GUIDANCE FOR VENDORS DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK

We understand that the current crisis is a confusing and stressful time for most and as a vendor, you may have some worries about whether you can continue with your own exchange and completion, how it will influence the current housing market or whether it will affect your ability to sell a property right now. We want to offer as much support as possible, so to help put that stress at ease, we’ve put together the Vendor’s Guide to help keep you informed on everything you need to know during the COVID-19 outbreak and current lockdown measures advised by the government.

Read More...
Javerna Lightbourne, sales and lettings negotiator at Davies & Davies Estate Agents on the phone to a buyer.
Guidance for Buyers During the COVID-19 Outbreak

It’s a strange world we currently live in and, as a buyer, you may have some concerns about whether you can continue with your own exchange and completion, how the current outbreak will influence the housing market, or whether it will affect your ability to buy a property right now. We want to offer as much support as possible, so we’ve put together this Buyer’s Guide to help keep you informed on everything you need to know during the COVID-19 outbreak and current lockdown measures advised by the government.

Read More...
Lettings Director Alex Reach at Davies & Davies Estate Agents speaking with a landlord.
Guidance for Landlords During the COVID-19 Outbreak

As a landlord, you may understandably be concerned as to whether your tenants can pay their rent, what will happen if essential works such as gas safety inspections are required on your property during a lockdown period, or what happens during the lockdown if your tenant reports an emergency, alongside other questions you may have. We want to offer as much support as possible, so to help put that stress at ease, we’ve put together this landlord’s guide to keep you informed on everything you need to know during the COVID-19 outbreak and the current lockdown measures advised by the government.

Read More...
Photo of a woman sat on a sofa reading.
Guidance for Tenants During the COVID-19 Outbreak

We understand that the current crisis is a confusing and stressful time for most and as a tenant you may have worries about paying your rent, what to do if you need maintenance works on your property or who to call in an emergency, alongside other concerns. We want to offer as much support as possible, so to help put that stress at ease, we’ve put together a tenant’s guide to keep you informed on everything you need to know during the COVID-19 outbreak and current lockdown measures advised by the government.

Read More...
COVID-19 Information & Resources

We’ve closed our shop doors for now, although two of the company directors are currently in the office to meet contractors and to deal with any emergencies. The rest of our team are now operating remotely. We will do everything we can to help you during the COVID-19 outbreak but please bare in mind that we too are operating under unfamiliar territory. Please be patient and please be kind.

Read More...
Help Support Our Local Community

In an effort to help support our local community during this strange, scary time, we’ve collected locals tips, updates and precautions being taken by and for local people and businesses across Finsbury Park and Stroud Green during this ‘don’t panic!’ pandemic. This article provides you with information on local businesses, help available locally and how you can help others by buying from small independent businesses, joining local initiatives and donating to local charities.

Read More...
Buy to Let Landlords: Reasons to be cheerful in the 2020 apocalypse

While the year may have begun on literal fire and under threat of World War III, there are some advantages to the year 2020 for you buy to let landlords at least. Yes, we know how to keep things light at the end of the world.

Read More...
Freeholders & Leaseholders are you ready? 

Let’s find out some more about Freehold. This particular contender, for example, pays no annual ground rent charges and doesn’t rely on a separate freeholder to maintain their building. Nifty. Freeholder has sole responsibility for the maintenance of their building and the land so happens to be somewhat of a green fingered warrior.

Read More...
Don’t get caught out: new landlord safety regulations are to be enforced

The government has updated its regulations, meaning all new private tenancies will require an electrical safety certificate (EICR) from the 1st July 2020. This affects most landlords, who can face hefty fines for not complying.

Read More...
Getting the self employed on the property ladder

So you became a freelancer and now believe you’re doomed to be a forever-renter? Started up your own company and can’t seem to catch a break, never mind credit? We’re here to retrain your brain, and your financial outlook. It’s time to turn that frown upside down mortgage-lusters, because we’ve got all the ways to get on the property ladder when you’re self employed.

Read More...
A picture of a dining table and a bookcase taken from a property rented through Davies & Davies Estate Agents.
Our fun, or at least useful, self-assessment guide for Landlords

We know, sorting out your tax affairs is a potent mix of fear and tedium, but it’s also entirely necessary. Particularly so if you are a landlord in need of a self-assessment. I know what you’re thinking, but we can get to your intimate health checks later… We’re talking about your tax return, divided here into small manageable chunks of boringness. Fun police assemble! 

Read More...
What can a property management company bring to the table?

Single handedly managing a property portfolio can be enough to bring on an early onset of greys. As well as screening tenants, chasing rent and sorting repairs, there’s a tonne of admin and legal stuff you need to keep on top of. Enlisting the help of a lettings agent means you get to bump up the ‘I love my job’ moments while minimising the stressful ones. 

Read More...
The more you know: find out your rights as a tenant

We know how important it is to know your rights as a tenant; whether you’re currently facing a tenancy issue, or simply want to avoid any renting related concerns in the future.   

Read More...
Porch stories: Is your property Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian?

“Gotta love a Georgian townhouse, eh?” you shout, slapping the brick entranceway and attempting a stride towards your friend’s promise of housewarming nibbles inside. “It’s actually Victorian” mumbles your friend, squeezing along the narrow hallway to take your coat. The next thirty minutes you eat your way through their salmon puffs and your words. 

Read More...
Part 2: How to stop renting and start nesting, a First-Time Buyers Guide 

Mortgage in the bag? Give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve officially entered the adulting world of variable rates, credit scores and laughable curtain prices. Now it’s onto what is arguably the fun bit. Choosing your home sweet home. Here’s what you need to consider when it comes to securing your dream abode. 

Read More...
Part 1: I’m a first-time buyer, get me out of here

By the time you’ve finished reading you’ll have stamp duty sussed and will be well on your way to retiring your renting days. So, before you start Googling obscure German hair thickening shampoo brands, read our handy guide to securing your starter home. It all begins with the stuff that makes the world go round: money.

Read More...
Landlords: How to not Kill Anyone or end up in Jail

There’s a lot more to letting out a property than just handing over the keys. As your local property nerds, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know to make the process of renting out your property as easy and stress-free as possible. 

Read More...
To sell or not to sell, that is the question…

We’ve looked at the pros and cons of each decision to help you begin with this exciting new chapter in your life. Every situation is unique and we know the importance of this decision, so Davies and Davies are are here to help you make the right choice.

Read More...

Get In Touch

Contact

info@daviesdavies.co.uk

020 7272 0986

Address

Finsbury Park Office,

85 Stroud Green Road,

London, N4 3EG

Opening Times

Mon – Thurs 0845 – 1815
Fri 0845 – 1800
Sat 1000 – 1600
Sun: Appointments by Request

Sales newsletter

* indicates required

By submitting your details you are consenting to Davies & Davies sending you their sales newsletter. You can request to have your data changed or removed at any time - please see our Privacy Policy.

Rentals Newsletter

* indicates required

By submitting your details you are consenting to Davies & Davies sending you their rentals newsletter. You can request to have your data changed or removed at any time - please see our Privacy Policy.